Judge Kaleb Cockrum sentenced Marci Kitchen this afternoon to eight years in state prison for fatally hitting two teenage girls, including her daughter, while driving drunk on July 12, 2016, ending an emotionally charged case that has spanned more than two years.
Cockrum handed down the sentence at the conclusion an emotional hearing that spanned most of the day, with people on both sides of the case addressing the court with prepared statements.
Kiya Kitchen and her friend Faith Tsarnas — best friends born just 25 days apart — were both 14 when they were struck from behind
while skateboarding at dusk on Eel River Drive. Tsarnas died at the Fortuna crash site and Kiya Kitchen’s death followed a day later at a Bay Area hospital.
After numerous delays in the case, Kitchen suddenly pleaded guilty as charged
Aug. 20, admitting to two charges of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, one count of driving under the influence causing injury and one count of fleeing the scene of an injury crash, as well as seven special allegations just before she was set to stand trial.
Two weeks later, Kitchen voluntarily surrendered
the $750,000 bail bond that had kept her out of custody. She has been in jail since Sept. 3, held in isolation for her protection, according to officials.
The defense had urged probation for Kitchen, who has no previous criminal record, while the prosecution asked Cockrum to sentence her to 11 years and four months in prison, what the district attorney’s office considered the maximum term in the case. A matter of contention
between the two sides, her defense had placed Kitchen’s maximum exposure at seven years and eight months.
Check back for more from today's sentencing hearing.